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DFID-funded Karandaaz launches second round of Women Entrepreneurship Challenge 2018

Islamabad | Oct 24, 2018

Karandaaz Pakistan has launched the second round of its coveted Women Entrepreneurship Challenge with 19 women-led business from across the country. The annual challenge, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), is a leading business support and investment programme that promotes a culture of entrepreneurship amongst women. Karandaaz will provide customized business development support to the businesses that have qualified for the programme and may also invest up to PKR 20 million (per business) in enterprises that demonstrate growth prospects after a competitive pitching round to a panel of judges. Women-led business from sectors as diverse as clothing and manufacturing, education, beauty and care, food and food processing, IT and Digital media, and gems and jewelry make up this year’s cohort, as announced by Karandaaz at a kick-off ceremony held in Islamabad, today.

Last year, through Karandaaz Women Entrepreneurship Challenge, 36 women-led small and medium businesses from across Pakistan received incubation services and 15 were selected to receive a mix of grants and quasi-equity investments from Karandaaz. This year the programme targeted high-potential, established women-led businesses that have an operational history of at least three years and are looking to achieve growth. Karandaaz will undertake an assessment for each of the 19 businesses and work with the women entrepreneurs to develop a growth plan.

Speaking at the kick-off event, CEO Karandaaz Mr. Ali Sarfraz explained,

We are very excited about this year’s round of Karandaaz Women Entrepreneurship Challenge as the businesses this time are much more diverse with a significant potential for revenue generation and job creation. Our programme is helping these dynamic entrepreneurs compete at par with other mainstream businesses in their domains and tackle impediments such as access to finance, market linkages, and lack of knowledge about industry certifications and standards that traditionally hamper women-led businesses’ growth.

Speaking about the programme, Waqas-ul-Hassan from DFID said,

There are many more women out there with great entrepreneurial ideas who need the support to help their businesses succeed. These businesses participating in the women entrepreneurship challenge will serve as role models to inspire other women entrepreneurs. Creating jobs and supporting economic growth in general is a top priority for the UK’s Department for International Development in Pakistan and we know through our experience that investing in women-led businesses makes perfect sense across regions and communities for social as well as financial dividends.